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How Renna Made San's Mask

Renna is back and with her tutorial on Mask making! She created a cosplay of San from the movie Princess Mononoke. Here is how she made the mask for the wild character. Also, if you try her method of mask making, she would love to see your results! Check out her link at the bottom of the page.

Renna as San
Photo by Renna

Hello! I’m happy to be back on VFire’s blog, this time talking about mask making! I’ll be
showing you specifically how I made San’s mask from Princess Mononoke, but this technique
can be used to make any kind of mask.

Step #1: Find your base
The base is the main shape of the mask. For San I used a ball about 10” in diameter. But you
can use any base you want depending on your mask. If you’re making Majora’s Mask, find a
heart shaped base. If you want to make a mask that fits your face, I recommend using this tinfoil
technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMrZy1d-lLY (but stop after the tinfoil part, I
tried using their method to make a mask and it... was rough.)

Step #2: Paper Mache

This is the step that will bring the most strength to your mask, however, it will also bring the
most weight. The more layers of paper mache you do the stronger and heavier it will be. For
San I did about 15 layers, and that thing is SUPER sturdy, but also pretty heavy. This is also
the most time consuming part of the process, as you need to let each layer of paper mache dry
COMPLETELY before moving on. Otherwise it’ll be weak.
If you did the tin foil method, after your paper mache is done and dry, remove the tin foil from
the back (otherwise it won’t fit on your face after the next couple steps).

Step #3: Eyes/mouth/nose/etc

At this point I recommend cutting out any eyes or mouth parts. Be careful! If you went with thin
paper mache there’s a chance your mask could crack at this point. If you went with thick paper
mache then it’s going to be pretty hard to cut through. And it’ll make a mess.
OPTIONAL STEP: Smooth it out
Paper mache can be sanded. If you feel like the holes you made for your eyes/mouth/etc are
really rough, you can sand them. You can also sand the surface of the mask if you want to, but
it’s not necessary after the next step.

Step #4: Paperclay!

Paperclay is a magical air-dry clay. Here’s the Amazon listing, though you can find it at most
craft/hobby stores: http://amzn.com/B0013J0HI2
It doesn’t feel very sticky when you are first working with it, but it will stick to whatever you
put it on after it dries (as long as you don’t put it on a totally smooth surface, and paper mache is
not smooth, so we’re good.). Cover your mask with the paperclay, adding in any details that you
want. I covered my in clay, then I also added the bevels on the forehead and over the nose.
I recommend doing the clay on both the outside and inside of the mask, just so it looks nicer.
This is why I suggested removing the foil from the tin-foil method. The paperclay will now take
up the space that the foil once did.

Step #5: Smooth
This is why I love adding paperclay on top of the paper mache. Paperclay is SO easy to sand.
I felt like no matter how much I sanded my paper mache, I could never get rid of the lines that
clearly told the world “I’m made of paper mache!” So sand down that paperclay until it’s as
smooth as you want it. WARNING: when you sand paperclay it comes off in a lot of dust. I
recommend being outside.

Step #6: Paint & Decorate!

After all this is done, you’re ready to do the pretty part! I painted San’s mask with a combination
of spray paint and acrylic. And then when I was done I added weathering to make it look more
authentic.
And that’s all there is to it! If you want to see the tutorial I made specifically for San’s mask, you
can find it here on my DeviantArt: http://renna-mira.deviantart.com/art/San-s-Mask-Step-by-
Step-Tutorial-392759533
If you do use this method to make a mask, please share your results with me! I’d love to see what
you can make.

~Renna

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